Teaching high school students about DNA/heredity/genetics research. I got them excited about the concept by first having them extract DNA from strawberries using household supplies (dish soap, water, salt, and rubbing alcohol). The boys thought it was COOL and the girls thought it was GROSS but it got them asking questions.
Making delicious egg and bacon sandwiches in home made biscuits and pondering how to make Cobalt’s and my meals more healthy but also delicious while on a budget… Ideas?
Running another glow in the dark 5K and actually running it this time (last time I was out of shape and it was so disorganized there was no way we could actually run anyway…)
Finally getting around to hanging the beautiful wall hanging Cobalt and I got as a (late) wedding present from a family friend
Getting excited about art and painting and the idea of art journals?
Finishing my challenge of reading 50 books this year (up to 53 now… guess I should go back to trying to tackle Crime and Punishment…)
Feeling super excited for all my friends who just got engaged or married recently!!!!!!!! So much love! Also, if any of my said engaged friends want some sweet engagement pictures, I happen to know someone who’s pretty good at that kind of stuff… her name’s Potassium… Seriously. Let me know! I would love to take some pictures for you!
This last weekend, Cobalt and I went to visit his family (Success! We saw both families in the same week!). I brought my DSLR so we could take a family picture! We were planning on doing the picture outside but then there was this HUGE thunderstorm so everything outside was soaking wet. The result was that we ended up pushing all the furniture around in the living room to make room for an indoor picture. It turned out to be fun though and I got to use my sweet infrared remote so no one had to run around with the timer on…
In other news, my friends A, J, and I made up an Instagram photo challenge to do together starting today… so exciting!
I’m sorry about the crazy posting schedule lately. There’s a lot going on/coming up (including teaching middle/high school students genetics and running a 5K – The Firefly Run – this Friday). I have a lot of ideas about things that I want to post (especially about France, which was 2 months ago now! :p) but no time to write about them. Boooo… What are you guys up to? Also, how do you make time to do creative things because I have all these projects/creative activities (like photography) that I never have any time for… wah…
Your turn… talk to me! :D Allllllso, leave a comment with your Instagram name if you want to do our photo challenge (and you need to know what “qwrahhhhh” means)!
Hello and welcome to my last post about our Dallas trip. I’m warning you, this is going to be a long post (and very pic heavy) but hang in there! I think it’s a pretty awesome story! :)
All right so where to start. On Tuesday we left off at the aquarium. From there, we headed to this amazing deli called eatZi’s for lunch. It was amazing! It is like a bakery, deli, and wine market all in one place. It was pretty much the place to go for lunch – they had prewrapped foods like sushi, sandwiches, and salads; they had a sandwich and salad counter where you could request the ingredients and they’d make it in front of you; they had a bread counter and a deli counter; and on and on and on… I was so happy in there. I think I would probably go there every week if I lived in Dallas. We each got epic sandwiches (mmm prosciutto…) and other things to share before heading to Klyde Warren Park, which is a park over a freeway, to eat our lunch. It was a fantastic day outside and everyone was out enjoying the sun. After lunch, Jem and I took our cameras for a walk through the park to work on some street photography. Here’s a pic of us in action…
After Kylde Warren Park, Jem and I wandered around the nearby neighborhood and I decided to play with my zoom lens a little. That’s where that crazy picture of Cobalt comes from. How this works – I set the shutter speed to pretty slow (tenths of a second instead of hundredths of a second) and then as I was taking the picture, I would zoom the zoom lens out or back in, creating this awesome blur effect. I think it looked particularly cool with people and cars so that’s what I’m showing you today…
My first attempt at playing with the zoom lens:
Jem taking a picture of me.
I like this picture a lot.
They turned out pretty cool, don’t you think? I think my favorite is the one of Cobalt up there. He decided that it will be the album art for any music he ever puts out… Wahahaha…
After street photography, Jem and I dropped our cameras off at her house and then Cobalt, A, Jem, and I headed out of Dallas to see the town that Cobalt grew up in (before his family moved to New Mexico)! It was so cool seeing Cobalt’s old house in his old neighborhood. We also got to drive past his old elementary school and church. It was neat. After taking Cobalt down memory lane, we stopped at Krispy Kreme donuts before heading back to Dallas.
Back in Dallas, Jem took us to see her work. It was exciting. I met Jem because we used to work in the same lab together back when she was a graduate student. But now she’s all fancy with her PhD and works in a new lab in Dallas. I always like seeing other people’s labs just because it’s so interesting to me how the same basic procedures get done in different labs (sometimes they are surprisingly different…).
We continued our tour of Dallas by heading to Deep Ellum to see The Traveling Man, a series of three robot sculptures that pop up kind of out of nowhere by this train track. They are super neat so here come a bunch of pictures… Ready?!
Each robot sculpture is surrounded by these little adorable bird sculptures…
Of course Cobalt wanted a picture of him riding one.
This one, called Waiting on a Train, was my favorite.
Jem and I were both sad that we’d left our big cameras at her house and had to resort to our iPhones for pictures. I immediately downloaded a fisheye app for mine because I thought the robots would look neat with a fisheye lens (don’t happen to own that for the DSLR anyway…).
Cobalt and I got photobombed by this Waiting on a Train guy… It was awkward… :-/
This is the second sculpture, called Walking Tall (We kind of saw these out of order, I think Walking Tall is technically the last sculpture in the series) through the fisheye iPhone lens… I love how it turned out. Also, notice that in addition to the bird sculpture the robot is holding, there’s a real bird perched on his shoulder…
Here’s me and the Walking Tall robot as viewed on this bird’s head. I tried to make it look like he was holding my hand. Weren’t the clouds amazing that afternoon?
Another angle of the Walking Tall robot… I like this pic a lot too.
Finally, the last sculpture (but I think technically the first sculpture) is called Awakening. Also, notice that cool art on the wall behind the robot.
The Traveling Man is a really cool and inspiring series of sculptures. They are really close to each other too so I highly recommend that you check them out if you live in the area or ever choose to visit. Next time we visit Jem, I am definitely going to go back to visit my robot friends.
At this point, everyone was getting a little grumpy because the donut high was wearing off and we all realized how hungry we were. So we headed to The Alligator Cafe for some cajun/creole food. Holy crap, this food was amazing. Everything that we got we loved. I had been craving fried catfish the whole time we were there so I got the Catfish Ponchartrain which was seriously soooo good that I am drooling right now just thinking about it. Yum. Highly recommend this place too!
AFTER DINNER (I know what you’re thinking… there’s more?! Seriously, I told you Day 4 was a long day… remember that on top of all this stuff we went to the aquarium too… don’t worry… we’re almost done.), we met up with some of Jem’s friends at a bar called The Ginger Man. It was nice to meet Jem’s friends and see a little bit of Dallas at night. Hurrah. Also, A and I decided to play around with the fisheye app on my phone and we got this gem of her…
In the morning we got up early and A, Cobalt, and I loaded up the car before driving allllllll the way back to CO. It was kind of a sad drive because we all really enjoyed our trip to Dallas and then we had to go home! Things got epically boring in Kansas and we brought out the license plate game to keep entertained. Turns out that a lot of people from all over the country drive through Kansas!
Okay folks, it’s time to end this epic post about our epic trip to Dallas. I hope you all enjoyed reading it. And now it’s your turn… What was your favorite part of our trip? Is there anything you wished you could have heard more about? What are you doing this weekend? Something fun I hope? Tell me! Jem is actually coming to Boulder this weekend to visit (yay!!!) and Cobalt, A, our friends J, K, another A, and I are all running in a 5K called the Rave Run. I am normally super grumpy about running (I just hate hearing my inability to breathe while running so I only like it when it is connected to soccer or some other sport…) but the Rave Run seems right up my alley. It’s at night so there are going to be flashing lights and colors and music and glowy things… I will probably just dance the whole way through… :)
I totally meant to write my second Dallas post for you guys this week but life went crazy in grad school. One of my labmates defended his thesis yesterday. This means he has his PhD now! And that I am now the senior grad student (not counting our MD/PhD student) in the lab… craziness… Because the defense is probably the most important part of actually getting a PhD (even more so than walking at graduation), my boss came all the way back from her sabbatical in France for his defense. This whole week reminded me of the two skills I think are the most important to learn in grad school: 1) that it is good to learn how to be independent, in control of your project, and manage your time well because after all, the whole point of getting your PhD is to learn how to answer a complex question that no one has ever asked before and 2) while skill 1) is important, it is also necessary to learn how to be flexible with your time because sometimes your cells don’t want to grow, the microscope is on the fritz, or your boss shows up from France after not seeing you for 3 months and wants to meet with you… at some point…
I had all these experiments or ideas of experiments planned this week and they mostly still happened except not exactly in the planned order. In addition, this was an epic week for defenses (my lab mate and one of my other friends here are now PhDs!) so after crazy days of trying to fit everything experimenty in and having exciting conversations with my boss, there was a lot of celebrating going on… I also had a random soccer game on Wednesday (they are usually on Sundays)… Whew… I am so excited for the weekend…
Anyway, as promised:
Dallas Day 2
After all the epic driving going on on Day 1, there was much sleeping in the morning of Day 2. Poor Jem still had to go to work so A, Cobalt, and I slept in and then got up to explore our surroundings a little. We took a leisurely stroll to this restaurant called the Dream Café and had amazing breakfast (it was lunch time though). I got these super fluffy amazing ricotta pancakes. I am not normally a huge pancake fan but I was really craving them and these hit the spot perfectly. Mmmmm… I want more! After our tasty breakfast, we wandered around downtown Dallas taking in the sights. It was pleasantly warm and there was so much neat stuff to see! I longed for my fatty DSLR camera instead of my little iPhone camera… Regardless, here are some pictures of our outing…
In the evening, Cobalt and I drove to see some of his family members that live nearby. I pretty much instantly bonded with all of them and it turned out to be a really nice evening. We celebrated their youngest daughter’s birthday with pizza, wings, and deliciousssssss homemade cupcakes and I felt so special to be included. :)
Next week – Fun times at the Fort Worth Zoo and Fort Worth in general. For now it’s your turn. Tell me about your work – are there skills that you have had to develop to do your job better? Tell me about food – do you enjoy eating breakfast? What is your absolute favorite breakfast food (I love eggs, hash browns and some variety of meat but I don’t often order it because I eat it too fast to enjoy it… :p)? Any fun plans for the weekend? Any requests for animals next week?
In other news, I saw something cute yesterday: pH (which is a measure of how many hydrogen ions are in something)=2/3 PhD… so I guess I’m pH right now…
So the other day, I was wearing my awesome octopus earrings to lab and my friend wondered why I didn’t have any shark earrings, specifically shark earrings that looked like they were eating my ears. I thought that that was a good question and began a google search for shark earrings in general. As it happened, I happened to find a google images search image of clay shark earrings much like the ones I had dreamed about. I drooled over them for about half a minute until I realized that that girl had posted a tutorial on how to make them! Hurrah! Craft time!
So I headed to the store, picked out the required colors of Sculpey III clay and earring posts/backs and set to work. It was hard work. I ended up making two sets of earrings because I would practice on the first two sharks and then try again for the second two sharks. Also, I was at a loss for how long to bake my shark earrings seeing as the directions on the Sculpey III package said to bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes per 1/4 inch. Ummmm… how long for shark earrings? I ended up calling Cobalt to come downstairs and check out my earrings a billion times winging it – about 25 minutes – and then letting them cool overnight. Here’s an Instagram of the shark earrings fresh out of the oven…
Anyway, I LOVE them. I wore them to school yesterday and got so many compliments. Plus it just feels so me to have sharks eating my ears. I can’t wait to get more time to make more (such a perfectionist…). Also I have already decided that I want to try to make miniature alligator earrings too. Yay!
Your turn: what do you think of the shark earrings? Would you buy some if I sold them in an Etsy shop? Tell me about your latest craft project. How was it inspired? Did you just dive right into something completely new or was it something that you worked really hard on for a while to accomplish? If you don’t like crafts, tell me about a hobby of yours! :)
In other news, my friend/labmate K passed his oral exam yesterday – if you’re not in grad school, let me explain – think of a test that you study for for months and then three professors try to figure out what you don’t know and then ask you questions about that for 1.5 hours. Are you shivering? Yeah… it sucks. But passing it means you are an official PhD candidate (read: you now have a masters degree and can continue on the path towards getting your PhD). So yay K! So proud of you! :)
On Sunday, I had a very fun adventure planned. Cobalt and I were going to spend the morning and early afternoon in Denver with our friends and then watch the Oscars in the evening at our house with anyone who wanted to come over. Then it snowed 5 inches before we even got up on Sunday morning… The roads were a mess and it was still snowing pretty hard so nope on the Denver plan. That left me feeling pretty conflicted because I really wanted to go see my friends in Denver but it never snows 5 inches here in Boulder so I also really wanted to go play outside in the snow. Since I didn’t want to drive up to Denver in crazy snow, the only option was to play! So play I did.
I was in luck because my friend L was planning on cross country skiing with her dog along some of the running trails here in Boulder and it turned out she wanted company! I was dressed in all my snow gear and hauling my cross country skis out of our “Harry Potter closet” (it’s under the stairs if you didn’t guess) within ten minutes. L showed up and we frolicked around in the snowy wilderness for the next hour and a half. It was lovely. We had wonderful conversations, skied happily through the snow, and hung out with her adorable black lab. Meanwhile it was still snowing….
Later in the day (now we’re up to 8.5 inches of snow), my friend A came over for the Oscar party but she showed up an hour early so we could play in the snow in Cobalt’s and my backyard. We sat down in the snow like children and proceded to build an enormous snow shark spanning our entire backyard pretty much (it’s not that big… we live in an apartment complex…). His name is Lur and you can see him up there at the top before he got his magnificent pinecone eyes… Here are some pictures of me and A with Lur!
The adventures continued yesterday because Gustav wanted to meet Lur. Here are some pictures of that encounter…
I think they liked each other because of this Instagram pic…
A and I then escaped lab early yesterday because hey… we rarely get this much snow at once and then on top of that, it rarely stays around more than a few hours (the weather here is weird… 70 degrees one day, snowing the next, 50 degrees after that, you know…). A has a new snowboard and she wanted to play around with it on the hills we have here before actually taking it to a ski resort. So we bundled back up and took my cross country skis and her snowboard up to the hills right by our houses. It turned out to be a fantastic day for playing around in the snow – the sun was very bright and warm and there was sooooo much snow to play with. Some pictures of those adventures…
Whew! I am tired now from all this crazy snow playing. It’s supposed to snow again today too! Too bad I actually have work to do though… ;)
Anyway, I’m sad that I didn’t get to see my friends in Denver yesterday but so happy to have gotten to play in the snow instead. I guess the moral of this story is: when life gives you snow lemons, make snow lemonade!
What’s the weather like where you are? Is it spring yet? Do you get a lot of snow or no snow? What are your thoughts on snow? I hate driving in it but I love playing in it/watching it from the warmth of inside…
In honor of the Chinese New Year this weekend, Cobalt and I had friends over to make dumplings! It turned out to be a hilarious endeavor because the recipe was written entirely in Chinese (meaning that only my friend T could read it) and instead of discrete amounts of ingredients, all of the ingredients were listed “add to taste” so T ordered us around in the kitchen – chop this, cook that, let’s wait for this – for a bit while we made the filling.
While T and our friend L were busy cooking the filling, A and I felt that there were too many people in the kitchen and retreated to the living room to make snake jewelry in honor of the year of the snake. As you can see from that top picture, I made a snake choker and A made a snake headband. Here’s another picture of my snakey choker.
Once the filling got made, we were all recruited to make dumplings. T taught us this super nice way to fold the dumpling skins so that they look professional. Look at these dumplings all ready to be cooked! I think we made at least 70 of these guys!
Then we cooked them and then we ate them! Yummm… they were delicious. We actually put sunflower seeds in a few of them so that if you ate one of those, it was extra luck for the new year. Unfortunately, the sunflower seeds went pretty well with the filling so we had a hard time telling if we ate a lucky one or not. We all found sunflower seeds on our plates after eating though, which suggests we are all lucky!
Tasty dumplings ready to eat (some of them exploded in the cooking phase but they were still equally delicious)!
Did you do anything for the Chinese New Year? How do you feel about the year of the snake? Tell me about it! Have any special plans for Valentine’s Day coming up this week?! Tell me about that too! Cobalt and I have plans but I think grad school is going to prevent them from happening on Valentine’s Day proper (boooooo lab… whyyyyy) so we will have to celebrate this weekend instead! :)
Yesterday was Cobalt’s and my 6 month wedding anniversary! Time sure has flown by! It feels like we just got married only a little bit ago… We’re looking forward to the next 6 months of our married life together and beyond!
Picture: Those are my wedding shoes and Cobalt’s favorite mismatched Converse shoes. To celebrate our day, we went out to dinner at our favorite fancy restaurant in Boulder – Agave – followed by perusing the bookstore and getting frozen yogurt for dessert. Mmmm… good date! :)
Cobalt and I have a tradition where we like to see all of the movies nominated for best picture before the Oscars. In general, seeing all of the movies up for best picture ensures you’ve seen the majority of movies in many of the other categories. It makes watching the Oscars really fun when you feel like you have an idea about the movies that are up (and it’s also hilarious because they always play THE WORST clip from all the movies so we can always shake our heads sadly at that too). I really like it too because it exposes me to movies I wouldn’t have otherwise seen that I ended up really liking (take The Descendants from last year’s Oscars). Anyway, this year we did a pretty good job guessing which movies would be up for best picture and ended up having seen 5 out of the 9 nominated before the list got announced last Thursday morning. The 4 remaining were: Argo (which we just saw this weekend, as you can see in the picture), Les Miz, Zero Dark Thirty, and Amour. Amour is going to prove to be the hardest to see because, as of Sunday night when I checked out my Fandango app, it is not playing anywhere in a 250 mile radius from us… Woooooo… This year we also miraculously saw all 5 movies up for best animated feature before the announcement came out too…. that never happens…
Anyway, do you have any fun traditions like this? Do you watch the Oscars? Have you seen any of the movies up for best picture? Which ones do you like? Do you want any recommendations? Cobalt and I really liked Beasts of the Southern Wild (it’s already on DVD/Blu Ray so you should check it out) and Silver Linings Playbook. Lincoln and Argo weren’t too bad either (though I found Argo REALLY stressful…). Actually all of the movies we’ve seen so far are good. It’s a tough race this year…. Leave me a comment if you want to know if you should see one of the 6 movies we’ve seen and I’ll give you a little summary/tell you my thoughts on it. :)